The Basics of Spell Casting


set forth these words
as the moon shine Full bright
The Crab holds the deep waters
of intuition and lens of clear sight
That all who read may learn, explore
and grow
In the ways of spell working
and the seeds of desire they wish to grow

Written Full Moon in Cancer

 High Magick vs. Low Magick   (Practical Magick)

There are generally two specific types of magickal working. High Magick and Low Magick. This does not denote that level of effectiveness or potency, but rather the nature of the working and more specifically the energies and entities involved in the process.

High Magick is work done with the specific intent of achieving a spiritual, mystical goal. Ceremonial Magick, commonly employed by followers of the Order of the Golden Dawn and Qabalistic Magick all work with the formality and formularies of High Ritual. The work is done in a ritualistic manner; always with a circle being cast, energies of the quarters called and statement to the seen and unseen regarding the intent. The work is formal, structured and well planned in accord with the desired results. The intent is one of connecting with the Divine, in celebratory or communal process and for the purpose of devotion and/or personal spiritual development.

Low Magick includes Folk Magick, spell work and those workings that seek to affect the mundane world using the tools and energies of the mundane in concert with the spiritual to bring about a desired result. These are the practical workings that we do on a daily basis in accord with our life or communities needs. Those who were the pagans of an agricultural society and worked from dusk to dawn, had little if any time or need for elaborate ceremonies; therefore the practice of low magick was straightforward and to the point with little fanfare. Feathers, stones, herbs, flowers and other natural items were the ingredients used to work magick to ensure a good crop, fertility in marriage or protection from those who it was perceived would do harm.  These needs have transformed to some degree in modern society, but the underlying premise is still the same; that of improving or safeguarding those things we need or desire.

Now, this is not to say that never the two shall meet. In fact, workings that are intended to affect change at a global or cosmic level often incorporate both the structure and formalities of High Magick as they employ their work at a mundane level using many of the same tools of ingredient that operative magick would make use of.

The SPELL: A magickal working directed toward the achievement of some goal such as obtaining, banishing, changing a condition, etc. Sometimes refers to the verbal part of the ritual.

Spell work is generally categorized as Low, Operative or Practical Magick. We cast spells as we cook. Carefully preparing and choosing the finest ingredients to produce pleasure and nourishment for ourselves and those we love. Sitting and writing that special sentiment in a birthday card or sharing condolences intended to comfort are crafts of spell work. Prayers offered up for a loved one’s health and the even the simple gesture of a hug and kiss accompanied by words of “have a good day” are spells cast. Sending out the intention to obtain a parking space or have the traffic light change in our favor is spell work. These and more are done transparently and largely unknowingly as we move through our daily routines. Now, doing these actions purposefully and in full awareness transform the routine into the extraordinary.

The Tools:

Adding layer upon layer of compatible and supportive tools onto the energetic working of the spell gives the extra oomph for success. Additionally, the extra time, care and effort in selecting just the right ingredients activates the process of intent and desire before the actual working is done. When each of these preliminaries is checked off the list, you will have sent out the etheric template of what you wish to manifest and set up the first steps of calling forth what you desire.

The Basic Ingredients: 

Words create and set forth the necessary vibration that interacts with the vibratory state of energy that surrounds us.  We’ve talked in previous lessons about how we are effected by and affect energy. Spell work sets up a direct line of communication between the energetic creation, or thoughtform, of what we wish to have occur and introduces/inserts it into the flow and fabric of universal energy.  It is for this reason that we try to work in support of those energies by assessing and making use of moon phase, astrological timing, specific Deity and so on.

*** A little aside. Take a look at the shape of the intro spell for this page. In addition to using specific word and rhythm, often a form or shape can be embedded or (reveals itself ) in the way the lines flow. This silhouette makes me think of a very full short trunked Tree with plant life extending out beneath.  (And, no I rarely drink alcohol and have never taken drugs)

Symbols that represent the thing we wish to draw towards us:

Symbols are employed in all aspects of magick. These appeal to and open our visual senses as the mind forms its connections that stimulate the recalling of latent memory. Sigils, amulets and glpyhs are some of the geometric forms that can be added to your spell work. (More on these in future lessons). The most asic of symbols that can be employed are color and numbers:

Color – Using candles of specific color and/or incorporating color into altar cloths, etc.. bolster the energetic support for your spell.

Red – Love, action, stimulating
Yellow – Strength, mental pursuits, communication
Blue – Healing, serenity, prosperity
Green – Fertility, prosperity, growth
Orange – Joy, enthusiasm
Purple – Spiritual matters, psychism
Black – Introspection, release, generic color
White – Illumination, purity, generic color

Numbers – the number of lines in the written spell, # of objects used, # of times of repetition, etc…

Read more about Numerology and the esoteric use of numbers:
Numerology Part One
Numerology Part Two
The Esoteric Meaning of Numbers: Part One
The Esoteric Meaning of Numbers: Part Two

The Elements: Air- Fire- Water- Earth *

  • As represented through natural ingredients such as stones, feathers, botanicals (herbs, oils, plant essences, flowers, roots) water, etc..

Review the energy of the Elements:
Lesson Two The Natural World

 Petition to appropriate deity, spirit or entity:

 Some use the Archangels in their spell work:

Raphael – health issues – Air
Michael  – protection – Fire
Gabriel  – miracles and change in resolution – Water
Uriel  – information – Earth

Or Gods/Goddess:

Vesta – for matters of the home
Venus/Aprhodite – for matters of the heart
Hermes – wisdom
Brighid – fertility of all manner
Toth – insight and knowledge
Ra – light and empowerment
Ma’at – justice and order
Cernunnos – earthly matters and animals
Lugh – skill and mastery
Hecate – transformation and the ancestors
Sekhmet – courage and ferocity
Isis – magic of all forms

The Cosmic Connection : Making use of planetary energy (including Planetary Hours) and astrology to establish the time frame for your spell is a very effective tool.


Sun – strength
Moon – healing
Mercury – communication
Venus – relationships
Mars – assertiveness
Jupiter – expansion
Saturn – structure
Uranus – change
Neptune – psychic development
Pluto – shadow work


Aries – new projects
Taurus – physical matters
Gemini – communication
Cancer – hearth and home
Leo – protection and strength of purpose
Virgo – analytical details, fresh approach
Libra – balance and refinement
Scorpio – surfacing what lay behind, transformation, revealing
Sagittarius – networking
Capricorn – perseverance in manifest endeavors
Aquarius – innovation, larger perspective
Pisces – compassion and all loving kindness

For more information about the planetary connections, browse through the Temple of the Cosmic Spheres Blog:

The Process:

First and foremost is INTENT:

Think clearly about what you need. If you need a car, perhaps it would be best to do a spell that will help you to bring a car into your life, rather than asking for a few thousand dollars to come your way so that you can buy a car. Magic can work in many ways and you might be limiting yourself if you don’t stay open to all possibilities! But remember, magic works best if you really need something, rather than just wanting it.

What is the premise for this? When we are in need we are genuinely fueled by desire for and the energetic predisposition towards action to obtain whatever that desire is. When we simply want something, there may be wavering in the intention set out, and not enough of action in follow through. Think of it this way. Someone who is hungry and starving is motivated to manifest food and will take the necessary steps to getting food.

Be As Clear And Concise As Possible In What You Want:

Unless you are imminently pressured to perform a spell immediately, the best practice is to thoroughly plan out and make the necessary preparations for an effective spell. Sit down and think through what it truly is that you wish to manifest. Once you have this narrowed down, think about what that manifestation would look like. Add as much detail to the image as possible. If the spell is for a new job, what would that job involve? What steps would be needed to qualify you for this job? What would be the optimal setting for this job?  Be as specific and detail oriented as possible. In magickal workings open-ended means precisely that. What you may be imagining as outcome and how the universe perceives that request are generally very different. If however, you can specifically and clearly give image, voice, shape and form to that request, you are more likely to achieve the desired result in a way that replicates your need.

Maintain And Direct Your Focus:

If what you wish to manifest has many steps involved towards the final outcome; work on each step fully before you move to the next. This works in accord with fully directing your intent and focus towards a singular purpose. As each step is realized, then begin the process of calling forth the next.

Work In Accord With The Natural Flow Of Universal Energies:

Choose the correct timing for your spell. If the spell has focus on new growth begin the working during a New Moon. If it regards something you wish to bolster, strengthen or bring fully into manifestation, execute the working during the Full Moon. And, if you wish to release or transform something do your working during the waning phase.
Always focus only on one spell working of magic at a time. For best results, channel your intention and energy in one direction and don’t scatter it on multiple goals.

Set An End Date:

Setting a goal date to accomplish the fruits of your spell gives boundary to what has been set forth. It also gives more focus to what is being done because you have narrowed in. You also do not want to have the energy of your spell lingering needlessly. This keeps you accountable for cleaning up what you have begun, and also gives markers along the way that allow you to modify, change or redirect with additional boost as needed.


The most popular spells are those for Love or the acquisition of money. These in and of themselves are not of ethical issue, but when they are constructed in a way that is manipulative of another person’s will, that crosses the line of personal gain at the expense of another. Ethically, we of the Craft seek to work in accord with Free Will and responsible action, knowing that what we set out as intent will return to us. With these thoughts in mind, accountability is the prime motivated in the type of spell work we chose to engage in.

Now, this is not to say that there will never be a time when a spell of negative outcome is not appropriate, but if executed be mindful that the same mal-intent will find its way back to you in some way. I will give you a specific case in point. Last year I had my driver’s license, credit card, bank card, mother’s bank card and license taken from my wallet while in a park. The thief took the cards out of my wallet, put it back in my purse and I only realized this later in the evening when I pulled out my wallet to pay for dinner. I immediately went home and checked my accounts. More than 15,000 had been charged to my cards within 2-hours! No leads, nothing!

I thought about the fact that they were in possession of merchandise that was not theirs and how many others they had pulled this trickery on. And, I thought about the consequences of cursing the thieves and exerting my magickal will towards justice. What resulted was carefully and intentionally phrased and was focused on:

  • The disabling, breakage and destruction of what had been gained through finances that were illegally gained and actions that were at the expense of those who had not given their permission for use.
  • All cameras and brilliance of light would reveal actions that were illegal and unjust, taking what was not given with permission from another and any action that knowingly caused financial harm to another.
  • All was prefaced and ended with the condition of “for the highest good of all concerned and harm to none to were obeying the laws of property that is not your own to take.

I do not know if this spell worked, but I held the intention that it would save someone else from the inconvenience that it caused me. So, what does all of this have to do with a Love spell? Setting a spell into motion to attract to yourself the same energy of love that you are willing to share with another, leaves the opening for that attraction to be made because of free will. Setting into motion a Love spell specifically directed at someone, removes that free will from the equation and although you may find joy with that individual for a time, more often than not the illusion fades and what you thought would be the ideal match is not.

Always include…” For the Good of All”

When creating the wording for your spell, remember to include the phrase, “For the good of all!” This phrase will help your spells to enhance your life, without having your good fortune being at the expense of another. Another useful phrase is, “This or something better now comes to me.” Often that which you want at this point in your life may be different from what you really need, and it’s only when you look with hindsight from a future point in time that you can realize this. So, by asking “for this or something better,” you leave yourself open to greater possibilities becoming available to you


When something comes into your life, certain responsibilities come along with it. Nothing is free. Even those things that do not cost money, still incur a price of time, effort and maintenance. For example, when doing a spell to get a car, remember that along with the car comes registration costs, oil and repair bills, perhaps monthly loan repayments, etc. Are you in a position to handle these? A Law of Exchange is always at work when magic is used. Sometimes what you have wished for seems to come out of thin air, with little effort on your part, but often it will arrive from more mundane sources


Spell books are great resource for ideas but the spell will work better if you put it into words that are meaningful to you. Always frame your spell in positive words, actions and outcomes.   Your subconscious will respond in the appropriate way to that which is phrased in a way that is in support of what you desire. Unless you are specifically trying to release negative attributes keep it in a positive light. If you are releasing something you feel is harmful, name it but be sure to call to yourself the positive things that will replace these negatives. Nature abhors a vacuum, so whatever is released leaves an opening for something else to enter.

Lastly, Be Realistic In What You Want…

Spell work is not the equivalent of rubbing the genie’s lamp and asking for things that exemplify greed, lust and overindulgence. Of course everyone has their own perceptions of what is realistic and what is not. If you hold fast to the thoughts of not only looking at what you desire, but what the consequence of achieving that thing would be and what measure of true happiness and benefit it will provide this may give you pause to set you sights on what is achievable and will produce the best outcome for all concerned. Beginning spell work to obtain a job with the Bolshoi Ballet wont’ be of any benefit if you have not done the hard and physical work of training in classical ballet.

After the Spell has been Cast:

To BE Silent: 

Do not discuss your spell with anyone. This dissipates and dilutes the energies. What you have carefully woven, is now open to receiving the energies, input and thoughts of the person you share the information with. Remember, “energy follows awareness”, so by casting the light of awareness on your spell it can now lay open to energies other than that of the Deity, spirits, essences and others that you worked so hard to gain support from.

The Necessary Work: 

Setting forth a spell will not be successful if you do not also do the work necessary at the mundane level to help it along. In other words, asking to be guided towards new employment will not occur, if you do not make the effort to look and put yourself in places where the manifestation of opportunity will present itself.  Spell work for health will not manifest if you continue to pollute your body with alcohol drugs and cigarettes. Be sure to follow through to the extent of your mundane capabilities.

A Final Tip:

Familiarizing yourself with the basic Universal Laws is a way to enhance your spell work. We often use these intuitively, such as the Law of Correspondence- As above, So below- but knowing them in the fullness of their intent and then using them appropriately as you set the energy of your spell into motion gives that extra boost to a finely tuned engine.

The Law of Vibration
The Law of Correspondence
The Law of Polarity and others;

Read more about these in the Sacred Literary Blog: The Kybalion


Next Week:
The Tools of Spell Casting

John WilliamImage: John William Waters 

About themagickalpen

Robin Fennelly is an Elder within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and also serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path. Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and theWestern Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice. A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers. Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd and finally 3rd degrees within the Assembly Tradition. As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she has used Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work. Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally. She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented. She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival this Summer. Her most recent project is hosting an online blogging community entitled The Pagan Experience. Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 43-year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education. Robin's esoteric writings can be found on her blogs.
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4 Responses to The Basics of Spell Casting

  1. Pingback: Foundations of Practice: Lesson Ten | A Witch's Sacred Journey

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